Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Update

With thanks to all for their efforts, here’s an overview
of recent progress toward the implementation of our
next-generation integrated library system (ILS)


DISTRIBUTION NOTE: This message is emailed to FLVC staff and to the subscribers of multiple Listserv mailing lists: ILS-IMPLEMENTATION-TEAM, ILS-COORDINATORS, FLVC-LS-MEMBERS-COUNCIL, ILS-IT-CONTACTS, and FLVC-LIBS-ALL.
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Our implementation project enters a crucial phase in October with the beginning of Preproduction Verification. More loosely, this is the big test drive of the new system by FALSC, FLVC, the Working Groups, and any library staff who choose to participate. In December, following Preproduction Verification, the project will undergo Executive Review.
>> In October, FALSC, FLVC, and the Working Groups will conduct a formal, time-intensive program of functionality, integrations, and performance testing on the new integrated library system, Sierra/Encore Duet.
>> Testing will be conducted on the Production server using newly reloaded data and the latest system software.
>> A detailed Sierra/Encore Duet Preproduction Verification Test Plan, which will guide the work, is being distributed to project participants.
>> Trained library staff are invited to join Discussion Groups to participate in the testing and offer feedback – we would appreciate the help.
>> A new version of Sierra, 3.3, has been installed on the Production, Test, and Training servers. The Production and Test servers also have been updated to Encore Duet 4.6.3.
>> The Production server is unavailable for data manipulation and workflow testing through Sept. 30 as it is reloaded with fresh data. Test and Training are available now.
Leadership and Collaboration
Library and technology staff from the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative (FALSC), the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), system vendor Innovative Interfaces Inc., and the colleges and universities continue development and testing for the implementation, which is scheduled for Go Live in July 2018. After Preproduction Verification this fall, the new ILS will undergo an Executive Review and Approval to Proceed process in December before moving forward to implementation in July.
Here’s an update on key groups:
  • The eight ILS Working Groups, made up of staff from the universities and colleges and focused on various areas of the new system, meet regularly, posting updates on the ILS wiki. For summaries of their recent work, see “News from the Working Groups” below.
  • The Working Groups have eight corresponding Discussion Groups open to all college and university library staff who would like to help test and shape the new ILS. Learn more on’s Discussion Groups page, or go directly to the FLVC Discussion Lists to find a group and subscribe. Look for list names such as ILS-DISCOVERY-DISCUSSION.
  • The ILS Implementation Team meets every other week, most recently on Sept. 18. Its next session is Oct. 2. The Implementation Team is made up of the Working Group chairs, multiple liaisons from FALSC, two project leads, and two representatives from the Members Council on Library Services.
  • The ILS Coordinators representing each of the 40 colleges and universities meet monthly with the implementation project co-leads, Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant. The Coordinators meet today, Sept. 28. Find a list of Coordinators on
Check the Sierra / Encore Duet Implementation Wiki for details on each group’s activities, including meeting agendas, notes, and documentation.
Visit the Sierra/Encore Duet Wiki
Implementation and Migration
Our project servers have been upgraded to the newest versions of Innovative’s software, with Sierra 3.3 now running on Test, Training, and Production. The two servers that run the discovery tool, Test and Production, have been loaded with Encore Duet 4.6.3. Check server status and availability at any time on the project wiki.
Data manipulation and workflow testing are currently underway on the Test and Training servers. The Production server is unavailable through Sept. 30 as it is reloaded with a fresh batch of millions of records from the colleges and universities. In October, the newly reloaded Production server will be used for Preproduction Verification testing.
For this server reload, Innovative is using a “match/attach” approach for exceptionally long bibliographic records, which is expected to substantially mitigate the issue of bibs with thousands of items creating multiple bib records. “Match/attach” should provide cleaner data for Preproduction Verification testing this fall. Item records with too-long bibs are in the process of being loaded onto the Production server now. Already loaded are more standard bibs, items, authorities, course reserves, PDA records, vendors, funds, orders, holdings, patrons, and ERM.
FALSC, FLVC, and the Working Groups have been heavily involved in recent weeks in creating the Sierra/Encore Duet Preproduction Verification Test Plan and its associated checklists and workflow structure test scripts. FLVC’s Barry Harvey, Director for IT Delivery Excellence, and his team deserve a shout-out for pulling together all the testing information into a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate Test Plan.
Other recent activities:
  • Ongoing creation of staff user accounts by FALSC, pending the return of user-information spreadsheets from the institutions
  • Patron data migration and ongoing patron loads meetings with Innovative
  • Continued discussions with Innovative on OAI-PMH Harvesting
  • Commitment from Innovative to develop option for institutions to turn local paging on or off
  • Final corrections and customization for Encore mobile suites, underway now
  • Development of “OAK: Online Access to Knowledge” banners for statewide interface pages
October Testing
The Sierra/Encore Duet Preproduction Verification Test Plan will be our roadmap for October testing. A Test Plan packet has been distributed by FALSC and FLVC to ILS Coordinators and to the Working Groups, which are passing along the Test Plan to the Discussion Groups.
The Sierra/Encore Duet Preproduction Verification Test Plan includes concise descriptions of the work and goals of October testing, schedules, and links to checklists and workflow test scripts for each of the various areas of the new system. Work will be conducted on the Production server with newly reloaded data. We will test functionality, integrations, and performance, including response times and loads.
Test participants can report their results through feedback reporting forms. Hot links to the forms, which are set up as Google Docs, can be found in the Working Groups’ Testing Checklists or Workflow Testing documents.
FALSC and FLVC staffers kick off Preproduction Verification in the first week of October. Working Group members are scheduled to begin testing Oct. 9 and continue through Oct. 20.
Upon completion of testing, the Working Groups will be asked to submit Testing Completion Sign-off Forms. ILS Coordinators are asked to submit Institutional Configuration Sign-off Forms.
HELP WANTED: All library staff who have been trained on the new system are invited to participate in October testing. To help, please join the Discussion Group in your area of interest. The Working Groups will provide testing information to the Discussion Groups. Test results can be submitted through feedback reporting forms on Google, as mentioned above.
Choose a Discussion Group
Ongoing Topics
Most of 21 system development issues that FALSC, FLVC, and library staff have asked Innovative to address this year have been resolved, with the list narrowed down to a handful of issues still under discussion and development. These include:
  • Authentication: Has been set up for each of the colleges and universities and will be tested in October, when all 40 institutions should be able to log in and authenticate. We are supporting SSO integration (SAML, Shibboleth, and CAS), LDAP integration for three schools, and LWAUTH for many of the colleges.
  • OAI-PMH Harvesting Requirements: Encore 4.7, to be released Dec. 8, will address display thumbnails; linked Collection, Creator, Subject fields in the full record display; collection name appearing properly; logging records that failed to load.
  • Sierra Web Application: Innovative has contracted with a third party to rework the Sierra Web Application, which performed poorly in FALSC testing earlier this year. We expect to get a revamped Sierra Web Application in November. It will be available to libraries for performance testing statewide in December.
  • Paging in Sierra: Innovative has committed to Sierra development that would allow each institution to turn local paging off or on. While the proposed solution is not exactly what is needed, it will work as an interim solution until after Go Live, when discussions can continue. Functionality will be delivered in June 2018.
  • Restricting Access to Course Reserves: Survey of institutions completed; Innovative to provide a proposed solution and delivery timeframe by Oct. 31.
For an issue-by-issue list with projected software release dates, please download the recently updated Project Timeline Overview, which was revised Sept. 20.
Get the Updated Project Timeline Overview
The ILS Training Working Group has surveyed the libraries regarding Spring 2018 in-person refresher training on the new system. The group will soon begin working to determine training locations and dates for the sessions, which will be staffed by trainers from Innovative Interfaces.
Need help now? The Training Tracks wiki offers a wealth of instructional materials for users of the new system and is organized by topic for quick reference.
Go to Training Tracks
There are many paths for staying informed about the ILS project:
LOG IN TO THE WIKIS: Since there is proprietary information on the wikis, a password is required to view content. For log-in information please contact the Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free).
News from the Working Groups
Below is a brief update from each of the eight Working Groups. For more information, please visit the project wiki


Chair: Ernestine Holmes, FAMU
We finalized the instruction scripts for testing Acquisitions and Serials processes. Our open session met on Aug. 29, drawing 95 participants representing 21 institutions. We covered the nuts and bolts of the Sierra data extract, giving the participants the background needed to understand the data they will see in the October testing. This also gives them the ability to identify what may have been missed in the extract and the reason for its absence. They then can make changes in Aleph to make that data retrievable for the final extract. We are gearing up for October testing and will meet weekly during the testing period. One of those meetings will exclusively cover testing. Our next open session will be Oct. 31. The choice of topic for the session is being discussed by members.


Chair: Annie Glerum, FSU
The Cataloging/Authorities Working Group (CAWG) continues to examine data in Sierra to find and suggest solutions for issues that might affect the migration with the emphasis on preventing lost data and adverse impacts to user experience. Subgroups continue to work on various focused issues to insure a successful implementation. This includes the retention of data that will not be migrated, such as the TKR field in monographic holdings records, and assuring similar functionality will be available in Sierra. On Sept. 5, nearly 50 people attended the Working Group’s second open session with the broader Cataloging/Authorities community. Open sessions will continue to be held on the first Tuesday of the month. The session on Oct. 3 will present a checklist of workflow functionalities for the October testing of Sierra and Encore. These open sessions will be announced broadly to FALSC, CSUL, and LINCC technical services and cataloging Listservs.

Circulation/Resource Sharing

Chair: LeEtta Schmidt, USF
The Circulation/Resource Sharing Working Group has primarily been focused on testing circulation workflows, and on creating a checklist with testing steps and screenshots for the October Test Plan. The Working Group also has been preparing for a follow-up UBorrow webinar.

Discovery Interface

Co-Chairs: Alexis Carlson, IRSC, and Laura Gayle Green, FSU

The group continued discussion of the revised “Linking to Library Resources” page for the colleges, discussing strategies for updating links (e.g, in LibGuides, Course management systems, web pages, etc.) after Go Live and also viewed the draft plan for LINCCWeb redirects. The group reviewed Browse searching and Course Reserves pages in the WebPAC. FALSC described the changes coming at Go Live for authentication. The group discussed the items on the Discovery checklist for October testing and discussed a special test of EZProxy that is included as part of the Discovery Working Group’s workflow testing document. In preparation for October testing, the group reviewed the Encore widgets that are currently available and provided feedback on two features that are being added using Javascipt: text a call number and report a problem with this bib record. Both have required additional programming behind the scenes to enable the email to be sent.


E-Resource Management

Chair: Tina Buck, UCF
The ERM Working Group and our FALSC liaisons have created a list of tasks and documentation for the data and functionality testing that will occur in October. We are testing, learning about, and discussing coverage load and bi-directional updates, including the impact of multiple accounting units, and the display of holdings created by coverage load versus EBSCO’s Publication Finder.

Joint Use

Chair: Janice Henderson, NFSC
The Working Group developed a testing checklist and workflow document for the October testing of Sierra Production. There is a lot of overlap with the functional area Working Groups (especially Discovery Interface and Circulation/Resource Sharing), with the Joint Use aspects adding a little sauce to the mix. The Group continues work on a webinar about Joint Use, which we hope to present in early October. Meanwhile, anyone involved with college or university joint-use facilities or with an interest in them should join the Joint Use Discussion Group list (ILS-JOINT-USE-DISCUSSION) and visit the Joint Use wiki.


Chair: Nancy Kellett, FSU
The Systems Working Group met with Innovative staff to get a better understanding of how to manage the Create lists files. It was agreed to continue with the method currently in place and to submit an enhancement request that the files be filtered/scoped by institution (so you only see the files for your institution and the empty files). Work continues on planning webinars in the area of reports.


Chair: Sara Alegria, MDC
The Training Working Group is in the process of creating exercises that all staff may find useful for testing their individual Sierra User Accounts and as practice in preparation for Go Live. The group is awaiting the results of the Training Needs Survey and then will begin the process of scheduling the webinars and in-person training session to be offered in the Spring. Because the in-person training is considered refresher training, the group is also creating a checklist of prerequisites for each topic area so that staff will be prepared for the in-person training session, even if they were unable to attend the initial training. We welcome your input. Please “drop” your questions, comments, and ideas in the Training Working Group’s Questions/Suggestions Box.
Open the Suggestions Box
ABOUT FALSC: The Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative provides services and information to the libraries of the state's 40 public colleges and universities. FALSC is part of the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), which is administered by the University of West Florida's Division of Research and Strategic Innovation. To learn more, please visit Find FALSC and FLVC's offices in Tallahassee and Gainesville:
• 1753 W. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310
5830 N.W. 39th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32606